Swine influenza in humans

H1N1 flu virus particles, SEM. © Science Photo Library

Swine influenza is caused by several types of influenza A viruses and circulate widely in pig populations. Human infection with influenza viruses of swine-origin, referred to as variant influenza viruses, have been reported sporadically in several countries globally, including Europe. 

People can occasionally become infected with swine influenza viruses when they are in close contact with infected pigs or a contaminated environment. Human-to-human transmission of variant influenza viruses is rare and most human infections do not result in onward transmission.

Human infection with variant influenza viruses usually results in mild clinical symptoms similar to seasonal influenza, such as fever, headache, lethargy and respiratory signs. However, more severe disease can occur and some cases have been fatal.

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